G. The Trumpet Judgments (the seventh seal): \u201cWhen the Lamb broke the seventh
seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven
angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another
angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was
given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden
altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers
of the saints, went up before God out of the angel\u2019s hand. Then the angel took the
censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there
followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound
1. The trumpets review and intensify the seals: the destruction is increased from one-
fourth (6:8) to one-third (8:7-12).
a. Judgment begins with an earthquake, followed by the seven trumpets:
(i) \u201cThe first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they
were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of
the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second
angel sounded, andsom e thing like a great mountain burning with fire was
thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the
creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships
were destroyed. The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven,
burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of
waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters
became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were
made bitter. The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of
the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be
darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the
same way\u201d (8:7-12).
(ii) James Moffatt, in his commentary on the book of Revelation, writes,
\u201cPortents of this abnormal nature are recorded for the seventh decade of the
first century by Roman historians. . . . Volcanic phenomena . . . in the Egean
archipelago . . . are in the background of this description, and of others
throughout the book; features such as the disturbance of islands and the
mainland, showers of stones, earthquakes, the sun obscured by a black mist of
ashes, and the moon reddened by volcanic dust, were the natural
consequences of eruption in some marine volcano, and there \u2013 adjoining
Patmos \u2013 was in a state of more or less severe eruption during the first
century\u201d (Expositor\u2019s, 5:404).
(a) Jerusalem receives the plagues on Egypt since she has become the same
spiritually, \u201cAnd their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city
which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was
(1) \u201cI know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the
blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a
synagogue of Satan\u201d (2:9).
(2) \u201cBehold, I will causethose of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie \u2013 I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you\u201d (3:9).
(c) God\u2019s people are called to come out of her that they might escape her
plagues: \u201cI heard another voice from heaven, saying, \u2018Come out of her, my
people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her
plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has
remembered her iniquities\u2019\u201d (18:4-5; John here speaks of Babylon, which
is one of the symbolic names used for Jerusalem in Revelation).
(i) \u201cThen the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen
to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened
the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great
furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then
out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as
the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of
the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have
the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted to kill
anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment
of a scorpion when it stings a man. And in those days men will seek death
and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them. The
appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their
heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of
men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth
of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their
wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They
have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt
men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his
name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things\u201d
(ii) The star that falls from heaven appears to represent either Satan, or an
avenging angel sent by the Lord. He releases the other fallen angels confined
to the pit:
(a) The angels who fell from the Lord are represented as being in the abyss:
(1) \u201cGod did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell
and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment\u201d (2 Pet.
(2) \u201cAnd angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their
proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the
judgment of the great day\u201d (Jude 6).
(3) \u201cAnd Jesus asked him, \u2018What is your name?\u2019 And he said, \u2018Legion\u2019; for many demons had entered him. They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss\u201d (Luke 8:30-31).
(b) These are now loosed to torment Israel \u2013 those who don\u2019t have the seal of
God on their foreheads (Rev. 7:3-4; i.e., those not of the 144,000).
(1) They are no longer restrained by divine power that they might do what
(2) \u201cHe opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like
the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by
the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the
earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have
power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green
thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on
their foreheads\u201d (Rev. 9:1-4).
(4) Jesus, during His earthly ministry, said this would happen to Israel for the rejection of His ministry, \u201cNow when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find
when it comes, it findsit unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it
goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself,
and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes
worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil
generation\u201d (Matt. 12:43-45).
(iii) The time frame of this plague of demonic activity is 5 months, the same
time frame of the final siege of Jerusalem under Titus, during which the Jews
were driven mad with despair.
(a) \u201cAnd they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five
months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings
a man. And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they
will long to die, and death flees from them\u201d (vv. 5-6).
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